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Old 02-04-2009, 05:33 PM   #1
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Need some advice about a knee injury

I injured my knee in a wreck about two and half years ago, and it's been hurting ever since. I'm wondering if anyone here has had a similar injury, and what your treatment/outcome was. At that time I didn't really know much about ATGATT so I was wearing denim jeans. Stupid mistake. Fortunately I had an armored jacket, gloves and helmet which saved me from being hurt any worse.

Here's a brief history: I lowsided and landed on my knee, and had a deep laceration down to the surface of the patellar tendon. The tendon was intact though. I got 13 stitches in the ER and was sent on my way. Had X-rays and MRI's done to assess the damage, and they all came out negative. The docs said I should recover fully, since all my ligaments, tendons, cartilage, etc are intact.

My knee improved slowly, but was still painful. I did two rounds of physical therapy, about 2 months each time. Tried acupuncture with a highly regarded Chinese doc. No improvement.

Fast forward 2 1/2 years and I'm still in pain. I've seen about 4 orthopedic surgeons and none of them know what is causing the pain. My current doc, who I trust since he seems conservative and reasonable, said he could do an arthroscope, but he thinks he will probably see nothing wrong inside.

So I'm kind of losing hope here. Should I bite the bullet and try the scope? Or just accept that my knee isn't going to get better? Or is there something else I should try? Maybe it needs more time to heal? I'm only 31, so I would think my body should have recovered by now.

Any advice is appreciated.
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Old 02-04-2009, 06:00 PM   #2
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Hey Soc! I grew up in the lovely NWK area. Left in '88. As f/ your knee...I know this is going to sound nuts, but if your doc thinks it's okay f/ you to run on it (and no other medical issues) you may want to consider it. Start out very slowly and very short distances (like one whole block to start out) and slowly work your way up to more serious distances.

My knees bothered me my entire life until a couple years back when I started running (at around 50ish age wise) and I swear strengthening the leg muscles and knee parts seems to have really helped my knee aches. Again, start slow and short. It's good f/ other things as well like your heart - but be sure to see your doc first.


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Old 02-04-2009, 06:30 PM   #3
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Where is the pain in the knee? Inside, or under the knee cap, or on the sides nearer the surface? Does it hurt all the time no matter what you're doing, or just sometimes, especially when you walk?

I hurt my left knee in 2003. A few years later I complained of pain, and after an MRI (and no clear diagnosis) the docs said I could try surgery. Said to hell with that.

As it turned out, the pain I was suffering had nothing to do with the original injury - that had healed just fine. As it turned out, the pain was caused by too-right quads. And it would ache like hell when I walked. Stretch and pain bye bye.

Just a thought...
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Old 02-04-2009, 09:21 PM   #4
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Thanks for the responses guys. D'Artagnan, I've been trying to strengthen my leg muscles. It hasn't helped much yet, but I'm working on it. I was thinking about doing the stationary bike or even swimming since they're non-impact. I used to run occassionally, but I figured since it's so high impact it may aggravate the knee. My doc told me there are no restrictions on my activities though, so it should be okay.

MonkeyBoy, it's hard to pinpoint the pain as it spreads throughout the knee. It's more on the outside, underneath the kneecap. I have a big scar from the cut, but the pain is actually a few inches down from where the scar is. The only time it doesn't hurt is when I'm sitting or laying down. If I'm standing, walking, etc the pain is almost always there.

The last physiotherapist I saw thought my pain was caused by muscle tightness. So we did a lot of stretching, massage, etc. But it didn't help at all. I'm still trying to stretch as often as I can.

It's just frustrating that I have no diagnosis and no idea if the pain will ever go away. But I'm pretty damn sure the pain is caused by the trauma. I used to be very active before the injury - martial arts, skiing, hiking, etc - but the past couple of years I've stopped all of that.

Has anyone else had a deep road rash type injury on your knee, and did you fully recover?
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Old 02-05-2009, 02:58 AM   #5
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i crashed hard about ten years ago,and lost most of my rt acl and medial meniscus.but thats not what the MRI showed . the MRI showed damage to the pcl and lateral meniscus.i re injured the rt knee on stair master about three years later, MRI showed nothing but i insisted on the operation and it turned out there were large pieces of tissue floating in there.when i came to the first thing i heard the doctor say was "you was right". bottom line is mri's are guesses at best. if you have knee pain and you don't believe it's the acl or pcl the first thing to do is straighten your leg place your foot on a chair or stool and relax your quads. then take your knee cap and make circles with it. this will push all floating tissue to the sides and give you some temp relief. if the pain goes away you need to be scoped to take out the floaters .good luck
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Old 02-05-2009, 03:16 AM   #6
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I can not speak for the knee but I can speak for shoulder. It kind of depends on the severity of the pain, is it annoying, life limiting or worse. My shoulder was in the life limiting class. One shot of steroids really helped getting to the annoying stage. You might suggest that to the dr, to try a shot of injection steroids in the painful location, that may help more than anything. As I did the physical therapy exercises I listened very close to my body, and some of them were helping, some were ineffective. The ones that were helping I still do. The steroids helped me to do the PT correctly and at a higher intensity. My shoulder still hurts, I think it always will, but the class of pain is not life limiting most days. Maybe 5 days a year it is worse. Ask about the steroid, hurts like hell going in, then bliss.

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Old 02-05-2009, 04:05 AM   #7
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Every knee injury is different, so whatever works for me may not work for you.

I broke my knee in a crash. The ortho told me to ride a bike, so I did. Helped immensley. Also losing weight helped a lot.

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Old 02-05-2009, 04:34 AM   #8
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I have a torn Meniscus, It hurts like a toothache, Im going to try to avoid knee surgery, mainly because Im chicken shit.
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Old 02-05-2009, 05:57 AM   #9
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I had trouble with my inside left knee at one time and discovered it was the way I climbed stair. I had my foot pointed outward and only used the inside muscle. Your symptoms don't sound like that though.

Originally Posted by duckman
i re injured the rt knee on stair master about three years later
Last summer I broke my right knee cap in a motorbike accident, and have been in physio for 4 months. I just want to ask Duckman about the stair master. I was told to use a "stepper" often for strength and endurance. Any warnings or advice about that?
And what are you planning to do with your one and only life?
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Old 02-05-2009, 05:59 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by slopbulb
I have a torn Meniscus, It hurts like a toothache, Im going to try to avoid knee surgery, mainly because Im chicken shit.
I just had that done about a year and a half ago. I had constant pain while driving and my knee felt like it was swelled up constantly. I was down for about a month. My knee still clicks a bit, some very very minor pain occasionally (but that may be unrelated), but it was the BEST thing I ever did.

By the way, a torn meniscus WILL CONTINUE TO TEAR AND GET WORSE if not dealt with. Essentially they do what is done to a crack in plastic. They go in and round out the end of the tear, like drilling a hole at the tip of a crack in plastic, relieving the stress so it will quit tearing. What damage is done still stays. The doctor told me their goal is to reduce pain by about 88% (don't ask how that figure is arrived at - I don't know) and to stop further tearing. If one was able to lay up for a year, it is possible for the meniscus material to heal itself, but that isn't possible due to muscle atrophy. Again, I will tell you IT IS WORTH IT TO HAVE THE WORK DONE. I used NO pain medication after my operation, what was left was less than what I endured.

I now see my 85 year old father who should have had both knee and hip surgery done years ago, having problems getting around. He is now nearly too frail to get any work done. He should have had the work done when he was healthy and robust enough to handle it. He did cortesone shots to cover the pain. WRONG MOVE! Now he regrets not having the work done. I'm learning what NOT to do.

If you can afford to do so, do the work now while it is at it's minimal state. It saves time, money, and a lot of pain in the future.
Ever get lost? You know, that good kind of lost - come to a dirt road intersection and you have no idea where you are or which way to turn? I like when that happens!

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markk53 screwed with this post 02-05-2009 at 07:13 AM
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Old 02-05-2009, 06:03 AM   #11
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A long shot here.
Could it be your feet that are affecting your knee. It is worth a try to see a foot doctor and get an opinion. I have heard that correct footwear is very important when it comes to knee pain and posture.
And what are you planning to do with your one and only life?
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Old 02-05-2009, 06:39 AM   #12
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I appreciate all the replies. This forum is really great. I did in fact get steroid injections, multiple shots of them, from the acupuncture doc. Straight into the knee. Painful as hell. But it didn't help.

The physiotherapist also thought it might be my flat feet causing the pain, so he taught me how to walk properly and I tried orthotics in my shoes. No improvement from that either.

I'd say the pain is somewhere between annoying and activity limiting. The knee is constantly throbbing and I don't do many of the physical activities I used to because of it. I'm wondering if it's related to nerve damage, but I'm just speculating.
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Old 02-05-2009, 06:44 AM   #13
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Ring up Dr. Mark. It would be worth a trip to Houston. If surgery is necessary, he is great. If it's not, they will tell you.
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Old 02-05-2009, 06:50 AM   #14
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Howdy, At some point I'm going to have to bite the bullet as I need a TKR, (total knee replacement) but won't have it done because I'm pretty much way too young. I'm really not that young but for this procedure I'm considered much to young. My lifestyle would probably support the TKR for 10 years according to my surgeon so I'd be looking at a few additional TKR in my lifetime. Mine is due to commercial fishing, running hills & genetics. I look like my grampa, bowlegged & happy!
I now use a Nordic Track skier, WaterRower, hike with poles for better weight distribution & bicycle. Don't do any of the shots & try not to take pain meds. Masking pain with shots & drugs seems to only make the problem worse when it's out of your system. I ran mountain races & used to inhale aleve & such, it allowed me to run the mts. but killed me long term. That's why I ride a moto bike now. Life's good, more women should ride.
Hey, keep your weight as ideal as possible, extra weight is a killer on your knee's & heart.You might want to try a glucosamine/chondroitin/msm supplement, they work.
Good luck & be careful, I also went down on my bad knee on my bike, it was painful.
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Old 02-05-2009, 07:09 AM   #15
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Hey Dragonfly, welcome to the board! Sorry to hear about your knee problems. I don't want to mask the pain either, just want to improve it somehow. Extra weight is definitely not the issue for me. I'm pretty slender at 6'1" and 175 lbs.

Gordy, I've already emailed Dr. Mark. He referred me to a doc in NYC, but if it's worth it I'll make the trip to Houston to see him directly.
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